illuminate

verb
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \i-ˈlü-mə-ˌnāt \
illuminated; illuminating

Definition of illuminate 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to supply or brighten with light

(2) : to make luminous or shining

b : to enlighten spiritually or intellectually

c : to subject to radiation

d archaic : to set alight

2a : to make clear : elucidate

b : to bring to the fore : highlight a crisis can illuminate how interdependent we all are

3 : to make illustrious or resplendent

4 : to decorate (something, such as a manuscript) with gold or silver or brilliant colors or with often elaborate designs or miniature pictures

illuminate

adjective
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \i-ˈlü-mə-nət \

Definition of illuminate (Entry 2 of 3)

1 archaic : brightened with light

2 archaic : intellectually or spiritually enlightened

illuminate

noun
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \i-ˈlü-mə-nət \

Definition of illuminate (Entry 3 of 3)

archaic

: one having or claiming unusual enlightenment

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Other Words from illuminate

Verb

illuminator \i-​ˈlü-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for illuminate

Synonyms: Verb

bathe, beacon, emblaze, illume, illumine, irradiate, light, lighten

Antonyms: Verb

blacken, darken, obfuscate

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Examples of illuminate in a Sentence

Verb

the part of the moon illuminated by the sun A university study has illuminated the problem.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On a sunny day, the light illuminates the sublime blue water, ideal for a calm boat ride. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "Exploring Annecy, the Venice of the French Alps," 7 Nov. 2018 Corresponding with Jupiter’s own motion, Sagittarius illuminates the mysterious unseen realm of your chart. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Capricorn Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 And the photo illuminates the subtle expression on Norman’s face. Deneen L. Brown, The Seattle Times, "An iconic Olympics moment: Looking back at the Black Power salute that rocked the world in 1968," 16 Oct. 2018 The sun rising outside your window illuminates an elephant tottering down the street, its legs impossibly skinny stilts a hundred feet tall. Devin Powell, Discover Magazine, "Shape Shifters," 28 Sep. 2018 But the call illuminated a few other reasons for the decline. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "How far will Facebook fall today?," 26 July 2018 Three large areas behind the counter offer space to hold food and supplies thanks to bungee cord netting, and the entire kitchen is illuminated by two lights. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Teardrop trailer features bunkbeds to sleep a family of 4," 23 Oct. 2018 The design paid homage to the iconic Allianz Arena, home to German Bundesliga soccer powerhouse Bayern Munich, and features a canopy and out-facing facade that can be illuminated with LED lights reflected off translucent material. Patrick Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "FC Cincinnati reveals training complex plans, stadium details coming Friday," 26 June 2018 Prep Your Skin Even the fanciest foundation with major moisturizing and illuminating properties in the world won’t look good on dry skin. Maureen Choi, Glamour, "The Best Glowy Skin Tips From Meghan Markle’s Makeup Artist," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The problem is that, while the careful study of history can provide policymakers with powerful insights, incongruous comparisons can just as easily obscure as illuminate contemporary challenges. Richard Fontaine, The Atlantic, "The Uses and Misuses of Historical Analogy for North Korea," 3 Oct. 2017 Throughout the film, interviews reveal the pervasive abuses committed against infants, children and teens as well as illuminate groups and people who are working to stop it. Kimber Myers, latimes.com, "Filmmaker-monk goes after sex trade in documentary 'Stopping Traffic'," 28 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illuminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of illuminate

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for illuminate

Verb

Middle English, from Latin illuminatus, past participle of illuminare, from in- + luminare to light up, from lumin-, lumen light — more at luminary

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illuminate

The first known use of illuminate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for illuminate

illuminate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of illuminate

: to supply (something) with light : to shine light on (something)

: to make (something) clear and easier to understand

illuminate

verb
il·​lu·​mi·​nate | \i-ˈlü-mə-ˌnāt \
illuminated; illuminating

Kids Definition of illuminate

1 : to supply with light : light up He clutched Rose as a dazzling blast illuminated the lobby…— Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck

2 : to make clear : explain His speech illuminated the subject.

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